Over the 26 years of Jamaican community site Jamaicans.com, it has collected over 400 recipes that allow its visitors to make authentic Jamaican flavors at home. The collection is particularly well received by Jamaicans in the diaspora who often struggle to find restaurants offering their favorite dishes from home. Jamaicans.com recipes are a valuable source of inspiration for local cooks, an introduction to Jamaican dishes for the uninitiated, and the go-to resource for non-Jamaicans who want to replicate the unique flavors of the country. The Jamaican Recipe Search was especially popular during the COVID-19 lockdown, as people sought comfort in home cooking or just wanted to find something different to cook for dinner! Below are the 13 most requested recipes for Jamaican food lovers in the United States in 2021.
1. Jamaican Patty
Jamaican pancake is classic Jamaican food. It offers unique island flavors and the bright yellow color of its pastry adds an element of delight to the dining experience. Beef is the traditional garnish, but many flavorful versions replace it with chicken, seafood, or plant-based choices. The buttery puff pastry surrounding the filling gets its color from the turmeric, and although the patty looks like an empanada, it is baked instead of fried. Being a Jamaican dish, it exhibits different levels of heat, mainly attributed to the Scotch Bonnet pepper frequently added to the garnish. The galette reflects the influence of East Indian culture in Jamaica.
2. Oxtail and beans
A thick dish similar to beef stew. This Jamaican stew combines oxtail with bacon, potatoes, butter beans, tomatoes, Scottish peppers and uses garlic, thyme and onions as flavors.
3. Cornmeal porridge
Cornmeal porridge is a favorite for breakfast in Jamaica. Easy to prepare, this creamy, comforting porridge is often the first solid food given to Jamaican babies being bottle-weaning. To eat Jamaican porridge, dip hard bread in the porridge or break hard bread and add it to the hot cornmeal disc.
4. Jamaican pea stew
In Jamaica, stewing peas refer to red “peas” or kidney beans. This dish combines peas with stewed beef, pigtail and coconut milk. The added flavors include chili and cook’s favorite spices and make for a hearty dish that is extremely popular in Jamaica.
5. Jamaican Fried Dumplings
While most people think of dumplings as steamed or boiled, Jamaicans offer a fried version. Fried dumplings are believed to have been the original “travel cakes” – later known as “johnny cakes” – that travelers of old took with them when they embarked on long journeys.
6. Jamaican boiled flour dumpling
A traditional version of the dumpling, and while critics believe boiled dumplings add no nutritional value to a meal, no “real Jamaican” meal can be called complete with some of the tasty creations.
7. Curried shrimps
Very easy to prepare and quick – it can be prepared in under half an hour and the results will wow any shrimp-loving dinner party. It contains Jamaican curry powder, peppers and coconut milk, in addition to the succulent shrimp. Although coconut milk is not usually added to curry recipes, its flavor pairs well with the taste of shrimp. The peppers add a welcome touch of color.
8. Jamaican Fried Chicken
A unique take on the familiar and beloved chicken dish. To make an authentic golden and crispy Jamaican Fried Chicken, marinate the chicken for at least two hours in a mixture of garlic, ginger, thyme, paprika, salt and chili, then coat with a batter. flour, baking powder and cornstarch for an extra crunchy treat.
9. Jamaican rum cream
A perfect blend of Jamaican rum, cream, island fruits and spices. This recipe is similar to the famous Jamaican brand Sangsters. It is made with sweetened condensed milk, a good Jamaican rum, cream or half and half, chocolate syrup, coconut extract and freshly ground coffee.
10. Jamaican Black Cake / Caribbean Christmas Cake
If you have nothing else for Christmas, you must have Jamaican Black Cake, which has been described as “the most alcoholic cake you have ever eaten.” A close relative of British Plum Pudding, it’s a decadent treat that includes wine-soaked dried fruit, butter, brown sugar, eggs, and fine rum. Cook it a few days before serving to get the proper mix of alcohols and other ingredients.
One of Jamaica’s favorite comfort food, Festival is a popular street food. It is often served with escovitch fish and is very individualized as each cook has the flexibility to add the spices and seasoning he prefers. The festival is a dough made from cornmeal and all-purpose flour that is fried in oil. The traditional flavor is vanilla, but feel free to add your own preference.
12. Peanut punch
Jamaican peanut punch is extremely high in protein and is popular as an energy drink on the island. It is often sold by street vendors who add their own “secret ingredients” like Irish moss. In its simplest form, punch is a flavorful combination of peanuts, sugar, white rum, nutmeg, vanilla, and evaporated milk. For an alcohol-free version, eliminate the rum (the punch is still excellent!).
13. Chicken curry
This rich, hearty, and spicy dish is a Jamaican favorite and the ultimate in Caribbean comfort food. It is inspired by the cuisine of the East Indian communities and the style with which they cook chicken and goat meat. Jamaican curries tend to differ from Indian curries in the choice of seasoning, with Jamaicans using more turmeric in the mix. Curries tend to be unique to the cook, so go ahead and add tomatoes – or not – or add coconut milk – or not – as you prefer. A perfect choice for an everyday dinner party – and kids love it!
Pictures – Photo submission